Laundry is a constant in our house, and though it’s a chore, I have to say I like the feeling of accomplishment that comes from having stacks of fresh, folded laundry.
Especially since my kids were born, I’ve found ways to make the process easier and greener!
I usually do loads whenever the hampers are maxed out. Some of my friends designate one day a week to do all the laundry. Some make it a routine to do a load every morning. Whatever you choose, the trick is to be consistent, so that you can stay on top of it.
Teach ‘Em Early
Here at the Clark house, each family member has his or her own hamper. Even my four-year-old can easily toss her clothes in. (Hey, it’s never too early to get kids involved in housekeeping!) In fact, every one of us sorts our laundry ourselves.
Another option is a laundry sorter. It lets you sort stuff into two or three separate sections. I like this one from Sears. Or if you have space, devote a few linen closet shelves to creating a “hamper/closet,” with individual shelves for tossing whites, lights, darks and sheets.
Towels are easy for me to cope with. I keep a hamper just for towels in the main bathroom and the kids throw theirs in themselves. That way, I always have one load sorted and ready to go.
I’ve got a trick for bed linens, too. My son has blue sheets, my daughter has pink sheets and ours are khaki. That makes sorting and bed changing easier, since everyone knows their color. Plus, if a top sheet gets soiled, I can replace it and still have a matched set. I fold every clean set into its pillowcase, so storing and grabbing a fresh set is simple too.
I don’t waste time pretreating anymore, because now I have a high-efficiency Kenmore front-load laundry pair, and I can throw clothes right in without hitting the stain stick. You can check out this video and see how a load left in the dryer doesn’t faze me, either!
The Sock Phenomenon
I can’t explain the missing sock phenomenon. It’s a mystery for sure. But again, using a specific color or style for each person makes sorting and matching easier. My daughter has frilled socks, my son has short athletics, etc. Little lingerie bags are great for washing (and NOT losing) infant and baby socks. One of my friends uses a bulletin board to tack up lost socks in hopes that she or someone else in the family will eventually come across its mate. Or you can pin socks together before washing, if you have time. I just go with the “lonely sock club” drawer.
I’ve taught my kids to fold their laundry and you can too. Just loosen your standards a little since kids have less-advanced folding skills. At least they’re trying, right? Have a relaxed attitude and let your kids learn from you. When I show them how to do something, I try not to make the task harder than it has to be.
Greener Softener Sheets
I’ve got a great green substitute for softener sheets. I put a bright washcloth in a small tub and soak it in liquid fabric softener.
Then I wring it out and hang to dry. Once it’s dry, I can use it over and over again instead of buying softener sheets. I’ll get about 25-50 uses out of my washcloth softener!
Or, skip the softener altogether: use a quarter cup of vinegar, which is a natural softener, in the fabric softener dispenser. There’s no smell to it, so don’t worry. By the way, lots of people think fabric softener can be used on towels, but it actually reduces the towels’ absorbency; vinegar won’t.
I’m big on using concentrated laundry detergents. Less packaging, less waste! Look for reduced package sizes and green cleaners. Buy larger bottles to reduce you cost per load, and buy in bulk whenever you can.
Green living – how do you do it at your house? Have you come up with ways to streamline your laundry routine? Share!
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